Camping on road trips is incredible. But with all the extra gear you need, packing can seem like a daunting task!
I’ve created the complete camping road trip essentials list so you can be certain you have all the gear you need before setting off on your adventure.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be too complicated.
As someone who has spent a lot of time camping and road-tripping in Canada, I know a thing or two.
This guide has full details of all the camping road trip packing list items needed to make your trip a special one. There is sleeping gear, kitchen equipment and of course, camping clothes!
Use this article as a camping road trip checklist on the day of departure so that you don’t forget anything!
Camping Road Trip Checklist
Use this road trip camping packing list on departure day to ensure nothing is forgotten:
- License, Registration, and Proof of Insurance
- Car Trunk Organizer
- Smartphone Mount
- In Car Charger
- Roadside Emergency Kit
- Car Sunshades
- Airbed/Sleeping Mat
- Inflatable Pillow
- Sleeping Bag
- Eye Mask
- Camping Table & Chairs
- Cooking Stove
- Cooking Utensils
- Pots & Pans
- Cutlery, Plates & Cups
- Food Supplies
- Travel Mug & Water Bottles
- Power Bank
- Camping Lamp/Head Torch
- Toiletries Bag
- Travel Towel
- Hats, Gloves & Scarves
- Warm Jackets & Coats
- Thick Socks & Underwear
- Bug Spray
- Sun Protection
- Hand Sanitizer
- Garbage Bags
- Travel Games & Entertainment
- Portable Speaker
- First Aid Kit
- Day Pack
Camping Road Trip Essentials
So, you’re taking a road trip and planning to camp. Not only do you have to pack all the regular road trip essentials, but you need to think about camping-specific items too.
To make the process easier, I have created 4 basic steps for using this guide.
3 Simple Steps
- Refer to our Complete Road Trip Packing List.
- Read through this Road Trip Camping Packing List which tells you exactly what to pack, specifically for a road trip with camping (on top of the core essentials list).
- Pack everything using this article as your camping checklist
You may need to return to this guide again to make sure you have all your camping road trip essentials.
For this reason, I suggest bookmarking it so you can refer back at any time.
Camping Road Trip Car Essentials
Here are some must-have items for your car when heading out on a camping road trip.
- Car Documentation
Don’t forget to pack your license, registration, and proof of insurance!
- Car Trunk Organizer
Having some organization in the car when heading out is essential for peace of mind and ease of access to everything when you arrive at your destination.
This car trunk organizer comes with an insulated cooler bag so you can store all your camping gear and food in one place.
- Smartphone Mount
A decent smartphone mount won’t set you back much but it allows you to see Google maps clearly if you’re using it for navigation. This one also comes with wireless charging so you don’t have to mess around with charging cables.
If you want to keep the cost down you can also go ahead and purchase a budget smartphone mount and then pick up an Anker Car Charger to use for charging your mobile devices.
- Roadside Emergency Kit
A must-have in case of a breakdown. This roadside kit contains all the essentials such as jump leads, a warning triangle, and tools.
- Car Sunshades
If you’re camping in summer, then it’s nice to keep the car cool for when you return to start your journey. You can get a windshield sunshade as well as covers for the side windows.
The ones below are just for covering the side windows.
Camping Sleeping Gear
These are the main things to remember for your camping gear:
Pop-up tents are the best as they are so quick and easy to put up and take down. However, if you need more of a canvas palace as you have a larger group, go for a more traditional style.
Practice setting up your tent before you go so you can quickly set it up properly in any situation. You don’t want to figure this out at night in a storm!
- Airbed/Sleeping Mat
Just because you are camping doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable! A good airbed will make a world of difference to a comfortable night’s sleep.
- Inflatable pillow
Again – don’t sacrifice comfort and your trip will be much more enjoyable. Fortunately, sleeping bags like the following have them included.
- Warm sleeping bag
Check the rating of your sleeping bag. They tend to have a ‘comfort’ temperature range and an extreme temperature limit. For the best night’s sleep, make sure your sleeping bag’s comfort range matches the nightly temperatures for your destination.
- Eye mask
It can be light early when sleeping in a tent. An eye mask can ensure you get a good night’s sleep even if the sun comes up very early in the morning.
Camping Kitchen Gear List
These are the main things to remember for your kitchen gear:
- Portable set of cooking gear
I prefer to have a set that packs away nice and easy and has everything I need in one place. That way it takes up less space and ensures you don’t forget anything. A set typically contains: 1 pot, 1 frying pan, 1 kettle, 4 plastic bowls, 4 cutlery sets, 1 spatula, 1 cleaning towel, 1 net bag for storage
- Coffee Percolator
One of my favorite things on this packing list. If you enjoy a coffee in the morning as much as I do, you’ll appreciate this being here. Gas cooker + Coffee Percolator = road trip coffee made easy
- Cooler Box
- Gas Camp Stove
- Spare Gas Bottles
- Steripen or Sterilizing Drops
These allow you to drink water from natural resources without worrying about sanitation
- Tin Opener
- Chopping Board
- Sharp Knife
- Bottle Opener
- Picnic Blanket
- Large Water Container
Water containers are great for storing drinking water and to save you from having to keep buying plastic bottles of water. It is a much more eco-friendly way to travel. You might also appreciate them in the case of an emergency.
- Travel Mug
For your coffee from that coffee percolator!
- Reusable Water Bottle
Reusable options are always the best options – they help save the planet and they are actually more cost-effective in the long run. Surely you want to save money on your road trip?
- Dishwashing Kit
Include collapsible washing-up bucket, biodegradable dish soap, small sponge, quick-drying dishtowels.
- Tupperware Boxes
For packing up meals and snacks.
- Garbage bags
Camping Food List
In terms of a food packing list, your road trip needs a separate one. Check out these helpful articles:
Dehydrated meals can be an excellent camping option. They’re easy to prepare and don’t take up much space.
This section has a variety of items which you can use to make the campsite more comfortable and to set you up for an excellent evening.
- Swiss Army Knife
Grab yourself a swiss army knife for those random tasks around the campsite!
- Fold-out Chairs
Some lightweight, portable camping chairs are an excellent way to stay comfortable around a fire!
- Fold-out Table
A small and easy-to-carry camping table is essential gear for any road trip participant. Put your beers or morning coffee on it whilst you enjoy the views!
What better way to spend an afternoon than chilling in a camping hammock and reading a great book?
- A Tarp
For your camping kitchen area or to install as extra rain protection for your tent. A budget tarp is an essential piece of gear!
- Quick-dry Microfiber Towel
A decent Microfiber Towel is very useful and should be included in any road trip camping packing list! They are very portable and dry quickly.
You can go with a flashlight or headtorch, but some lighting for nighttime is essential. I personally prefer to take a simple flashlight with me when I go camping.
- Head Torch
Alternatively, you can pack a decent Budget Head Torch and use this for finding your way around when darkness sets in.
Try putting up a tent at night without one.. makes for an interesting evening!
- Hanging led lamp
A hanging lamp is useful if you aren’t getting enough light from your campfire. It can also be used inside your tent when you’re getting ready for bed.
- Fire starting equipment
Hatchet, firewood, fire starters, matches – be sure to research whether fires are ok where you’re traveling, and remember to stay safe when making a fire!
- Gas fire pit
A great alternative to building your own fire which can come with complications and only requires a…
- Gas Bottle
- Nylon Rope
Here is some simple Nylon Rope that may come in handy.
To create a camp laundry line.
There is a full packing list of clothes for your road trip in our Complete Road Trip Packing List. However, you may want to substitute/ certain items for those below depending on the season and your destination.
When packing clothes for camping, there are 2 principles I like to follow:
- Prepare for all weather types
- Layering is key
Layering is key
Not only does layering keep you warm, but it also helps to regulate your temperature. It also keeps your body protected from wind and moisture. Both of these are important in Winter conditions.
The Camping Clothing Packing List
This part of the packing list is totally customizable.
The key is to adjust your clothes packing list depending on what you plan to do.
Flip Flops | Waterproof Boots/Shoes | Baselayer thermals | Midlayer Jacket (down or synthetic) | Waterproof Jacket (Shell) | Waterproof Pants (Shell) | Beanie | Thick Socks | Fleece/Warm Hoody
Hiking Boots | Baselayers | Midlayer Jacket (down or synthetic) | Waterproof Jacket (Shell) | Waterproof Pants (Shell) | Lightweight Waterproof Gloves | Beanie | Hiking Socks |Backpack
A full list of road trip healthcare essentials can be found in our complete road trip packing list, but when camping be sure to include the following:
Baby wipes serve as a shower when in a pinch and they’re perfect for toilet roll (or lack thereof) emergencies.
Packing For Your Camping Road Trip
Congrats! You’re at the packing stage.
It’s now time to load up the bags and pack the car with all those camping essentials.
Use this article as your extensive packing list and get everything ready to go.
Camping Checklist (Leaving Day)
This simple pdf checklist will make sure you haven’t missed anything vital and put your mind at ease.
For a printable version of our ‘Leaving Day’ checklist click here.
Now it’s your turn.
Was this road trip camping packing list helpful?
Is there anything else you would recommend that you really like to take camping?
Leave a comment below and let us know!
A final word…
These packing lists took a LONG time to compile and create. If you find them useful and you want to support the site, you can use the links included to purchase anything you might need. Not only is this a convenient way to get your road trip shopping done, but we might earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you make a qualifying purchase, but this is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting The Road Trip Expert.
Hey, I’m Jack. Travel is my passion. I particularly love to load up the car with camping gear and get out into nature. I love outdoor sports, and if I can combine them with traveling, I’m a happy happy man. My road trip highlight was driving an old sedan 6000km through South America.